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Does Islam as a religion oppress women? Is Islam against democracy? In this classic study, internationally renowned sociologist Fatema Mernissi argues that women s oppression is not due to Islam because this religion celebrates women s power. Women s oppression, she maintains, is due to political manipulation of religion by power-seeking, archaic Muslim male elites. Mernissi explains that early Muslim scholars portrayed women as aggressive hunters who forced men, reduced to weak hunted victims, to control women by imposing institutions such as veiling, which confined women to the private space. In her new introduction, she argues that women s aggressive invasion of the 500-plus Arab satellite channels in the twenty-first century, including as commanding show anchors, film and video stars, supports her theory that Islam as a religion celebrates female power.

About the Author

Fatema Mernissi is an internationally distinguished Moroccan feminist and sociologist. After completing a degree in Political Science at University Mohammed V, Mernissi was awarded a scholarship at the Sorbonne in Paris. She later moved to the United States to attend Brandeis University, where she earned a doctorate in Sociology. After completing her education, Mernissi returned to Morocco where she became a professor of Sociology at University Mohammed V in Rabat. Mernissi has served as a visiting professor at Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley. She has written extensively on the status of women in Islam and the Arab world. As a leading advocate for women s rights in the Muslim world, Mernissi is praised for her insightful commentaries on the complex social and political realities of Islamic culture. Her works have been translated into thirty languages and include Islam and Democracy: Fear of the Modern World, The Veil and the Male Elite: A Feminist Interpretation of Women s Rights in Islam and Women s Rebellion and Islamic Memory. In 2003, Mernissi was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for Literature along with Susan Sontag.

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